SebastianStrong Foundation established a Medical Advisory Board (MAB) composed of reputable cancer researchers, who are physicians treating pediatric cancer. Facilitating the MAB’s objectives is Jim McAllister of Asheville, NC, who also serves on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Jim brings his 35+ years of corporate management experience to help ensure that funds donated to SebastianStrong are used to support research that is in keeping with our vision & mission of finding less toxic, more targeted cures for childhood cancers. Please direct questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. David Loeb graduated from Johns Hopkins University and then moved to New York and obtained his MD and PhD from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He returned to Johns Hopkins, where he completed his internship and residency in Pediatrics and his fellowship in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. He joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins, where he practiced and performed research for 17 years. Dr. Loeb joined the faculty at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM), where he serves as Director of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Marrow & Blood Cell Transplantation, in 2017. He is also a member of the Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Dr. Loeb is Director of the Sarcoma Program and is a member of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at CHAM. He also has expertise in the care of children with other solid tumors, with acute myeloid leukemia and in the application of immunotherapy to childhood cancer. Dr. Loeb has an active translational research laboratory focused on understanding bone tumor metastasis. His laboratory developed a clinically relevant mouse model of sarcoma metastasis, and has used this model to perform preclinical testing of novel agents that can interfere with this process. In addition, Dr. Loeb is also studying the role of an enzyme called RNA helicase DDX3 in Ewing’s Sarcoma biology, especially how this enzyme affects the repair of damaged DNA. Dr. Loeb is also actively involved in clinical research, including the development of radiopharmaceutical agents for the treatment of bone metastases and the development of a small molecule inhibitor of DDX3. He serves as the Coordinating Physician for an international Phase I study of an immune checkpoint inhibitor for pediatric solid tumors, and he has directed a clinical trial of reduced intensity haploidentical bone marrow transplantation for children with high risk solid tumors. As an offshoot of his laboratory work, Dr. Loeb is involved in the development of biomarkers of metastatic risk and of minimal residual disease in children, adolescents, and young adults with sarcomas.
Dr. Ginna Priola is a clinical Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist and Director of the Pediatric Sickle Cell Program at Mission Children’s Hospital and SECU Cancer Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Dr. Priola completed her undergraduate training at the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Biology. She graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School and then went on to complete a Pediatric Internship and Residency at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital/Case Western Reserve University. She remained at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital for an additional year to serve as chief resident.
Dr. Priola’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology training was completed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where her research focus was on studying the Proteomics of cerebral spinal fluid after the administration of PEG asparaginase in patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Her research was later published in “Pediatric Blood and Cancer”. Following the completion of her fellowship, she was recruited to Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine to serve on their clinical faculty. During her two years at Texas Children’s, Dr. Priola was dedicated to providing excellent clinical care to the patients and families as well as working closely with the residents and fellows to further their education in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.
Currently, Dr. Priola practices clinical Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, servicing the population of Western North Carolina. Her practice is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group and she participates in numerous clinical trials focused of furthering the development of new and better ways of treating children with cancer while minimizing the lifelong toxicities of treatment. She holds an adjunct appointment of Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine – Asheville campus and is actively involved teaching medical students, residents, and nursing staff about Pediatric Oncology and the recent advancements in the field. She is also passionate about spreading awareness about Childhood Cancer throughout the local and regional area.
Dr. Matteo Trucco is the Director of the Phase 1 Pediatric Clinical Research Program in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at University of Miami-Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Trucco completed his undergraduate training at the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Biology and Philosophy of Science. He graduated at the top of his class from Temple University School of Medicine where he was inducted in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society during his Junior year and received numerous awards including the Benjamin and Mary Siddons Measey Foundation Scholarship, and the Waldo E. Nelson M.D. Pediatric Award. He then completed his Pediatrics Internship and Residency at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital/ Case Western Reserve University where he was again acknowledged with several awards and commendations for his patient care.
Dr. Trucco’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology training was completed at Johns Hopkins University and the National Cancer Institute. Upon completing his fellowship training, Dr. Trucco was recruited to Texas Children’s Hospital and awarded a coveted position in the K12 Faculty Fellowship in Pediatric Oncology Clinical Research. During his four years as faculty at Texas Children’s Hospital, Dr. Trucco obtained a Certificate of Added Qualification in Clinical Investigations and was an active member of the Pediatric Oncology Phase 1 team as well as the local PI for industry sponsored clinical trials and studied the altered metabolism of pediatric bone tumors and how to use these alterations to develop new therapies for these cancers.
Dr. Trucco has numerous peer-reviewed publication and runs several clinical trials studying new treatments for childhood cancers. He is actively developing additional trials testing innovative strategies to develop more effective and less toxic therapies for children with cancer. In addition to taking on the responsibility for the coordination and management of Sylvester’s pediatric early phase clinical trials, Dr. Trucco is the only Pediatric Sarcoma specialist in Southern Florida and has served as a consultant to and received referrals from Pediatric Oncology colleagues throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, as well as several Caribbean and South American countries.
Warren Alperstein, MD, is Assistant Professor of Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplants at the University of Miami in Florida, as well as Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics. He is a graduate of Technion Medical School at the Israel Institute of Technology and obtained his BS in Child Development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Alperstein completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of Chicago, Comer Children’s Hospital, and won a fellowship in pediatric bone marrow transplantation at Jackson Memorial Hospital, in Miami, Florida.
Warren was awarded a Hyundai Hope Scholar Grant in 2019 in the amount of $300,000 to investigate “High-Throughput Drug Screen for Pediatric Sarcomas”. He is the author or collaborator for numerous professional publications, including “Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: From Diagnosis to Prognosis”, “Ewing Sarcoma: Evidence-Based Diagnosis & Management”, “An Extra-Renal Wilms’ Tumor Presenting as a Uterine Mass”, “Undifferentiated Sarcoma: A Unique Infant Case Report”, “Successful Treatment with Plaque Brachytherapy in Recurrent Relapsed Retinoblastoma”, “The Impact of Medical & Psychosocial Factors on the Quality of Life in Children with Cancer & Their Families – Pediatric Blood & Cancer”, as well as an article in the Miami Herald entitled “Pediatric Cancer: Warning Signs and Symptoms”.
Dr. Alperstein is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Oncology Group, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and American Society for Blood & Marrow Transplantation. At the University of Miami, he holds a number of positions, including core faculty educator for the Department of Pediatrics, Chemo Team committee member, Simulation Laboratory instructor, coordinator for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Tumor Board, and member of the Holtz Pediatric Hematology/Oncology PI Committee.
Warren is married with children. In his spare time, he is active in Chai Life Line – a leading international children’s health support network that provides social, emotional and financial support to children with life-threatening or lifelong illnesses and their families. Additionally, he is a supporter of all Chicago-based sports teams.